The June 2019 assessment of white marlin’s relative abundance remaining in the water offered mixed results, “overfishing” had stopped, but the authorized catch limit is still being exceeded. So management needs to carefully keep an eye on this stock.
Although there was some evidence of rebuilding in recent years, the stocks remain significantly overfished and if mortality is not curbed the abundance will continue to decline. Inadequate reporting by many nations continues commercially on discards, as well as those from artisanal and some recreational fisheries continue who take marlin species.
Some of the solutions offered to ICCAT were:
- The release of all marlins that are alive at haul back in ways that maximize their survival.
- The use of circle hooks as terminal gear. Experimental research has demonstrated that in longline fisheries the use of circle hooks resulted in a reduction of marlin catch rates and haulback mortality. Currently, four ICCAT Contracting Parties (Brazil, Canada, Mexico, and the United States) already mandate the use of circle hooks on their pelagic longline fleets.